Brendon Burns and his if.comedy award

Last Saturday Brendon Burns was handed the 2007 if.comedy prize at Edinburgh’s Jam House by Phil Nichol and Christian Slater. He won the award for his “So I suppose this is offensive now” stand up comedy show. The Edinburgh Blog was at the 2007 if.comedy awards to watch the midnight presentation and make full use of the complementary bar right up to the 3am finishing point.

Brendon Burns on the phone to his mum after winning the if.comedy award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2007

Nica Burns director of the if.comedy awards described Brendon Burns’ show as “edgy and dangerous”. The Edinburgh Blog would describe it as “a cheap trick that masks an otherwise average show”. I can see why the judging panel gave the award to Brendon Burns; it goes beyond the usual standard comedy routine and introduces, what some could see, as an opportunity for us to examine ourselves. The mirrors at the front, so we can look at our own faces and our own reaction to Brendon’s rants attest to this.

However Burns isn’t the right person to do such good work and this, a Fringe show in which people have paid to hear a stand up comedian, is not the right setting. Anyone who left after 45 minutes or so of this show would have remembered Burns as a comic who can raise a few laughs, has some decent material but whose delivery is often too abrasive to follow. In all ways average. I can see why he made the show like it is though. With the lack of an outstanding comedy show at this years Edinburgh Festival Fringe the judging panel would need something to differentiate one show from the rest. Brendon’s trick proved just the ticket.

Average show. 2007 if.comedy winner. Say no more.

The if.comedy awards 2007 were held at Edinburgh’s large ‘The Jam House’ venue. Doors were opened to this invite only event at 11.30pm and at midnight Christian Slater and Phil Nichol headed onto stage to hand out the awards. Brendon was clearly shocked and elated to win the main prize of the night and his acceptance speech was held up while he tried to telephone his mother to give her the good news. After a few attempts, he finally got through to say “I won”. Tom Basden won the best newcomer award for his show ‘Won’t Say Anything’. The spirit of the Fringe award went to Arthur Smith for ‘Arturart at the Institute of Zoo Logic’.

Performers spotted at the awards included Jimmy Carr (although he seemed to leave early), Simon Amstell, Lucy Porter, Stephen K Amos, Simon Amstell and Mike Wilkinson. Entertainment was a little disappointing as there were no ‘proper’ live bands on, just the house guys playing a little - it was mainly lots of music played direct from CD’s (including Wham’s Club Tropicana). ITV2 were filming the event and footage from the comedy awards made up the last 15 minutes or so of their ‘Comedy Cuts’ show, broadcast last Sunday night. Food came in the form of little noodle baskets (very tasty) and miniature tubs of Haagen Dazs ice cream later on. The Edinburgh Blog was more than happy to stick to the unlimited supply of Prosecco, interspersed with a few bottles of Peroni lager.

Upon leaving guests were given a goodie bag containing an if.comedy pen, small box of jelly beans and a bottle of if.comedy branded water. I also left safe in the knowledge that a monstrous hangover for the next day was assured…

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